Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Quick Thought About Randomness in Preparing and Running Games

Of late, I've found that I very much enjoy preparing my games using various randomizing tools. Maps, monsters, gimmicks, whatever. For some reason, my brain isn't coming up with much on it's own, but give me some random data points and suddenly the ideas are pouring out. I'm sure some would think it means I've become a lazy DM. I find that my stuff is refreshingly out of character for me as a DM. Forcing myself to bridge a gap between two (or more) seemingly incompatible results is keeping me on my mental toes, certainly more so than taking everything to a "logical" conclusion. Making myself build concepts from random generation makes my SWN milieu feel like a universe with many unique places and cultures, rather than a bunch of stuff that was all thought up by the same guy.

If this all makes me lazy, then so be it...some of my favorite things in this campagin (and things I can't wait to use) were inspired by random data points.


  1. It doesn't mean you're lazy, it means you're doing it right.

  2. Dude...I don't know how old you are but I am 38 years old with a home, family, and job. The only reason I made those generators at my site was so when my kids come up to me and say "can we play D&D tonight?" I can always say, "sure!" It is not being lazy, but merely a more efficient one. If you can find random generators to take care of the heavy work, then you can spend more time on the details of the story behind it all.

    1. Same thing here. It makes a spontaneous game a lot easier.

  3. It's the 'Scream' it burns GMs too! Seriously, SWN seems like it begs for areas that don't relate to each other well. It has the lost spike routes, the abandoned planets, slow communications, pretech (high tech) mixing with postech (mid tech) and the backwards savage planets. All the placement was based on these (now)inoperative jump gates! I'm cheating, in my game the PCs use these 'pods' that travel to seemingly random locations (and times) based on a color based (alien tech) control console. The experts managed to die, so some of the old coordinates and research got destroyed...